During the summer months we like to eat on the patio of the restaurant we select if at all possible. We have learned that at most restaurants, it is first come, first served and so it was at sparks, 230 Cedar Lake South, Minneapolis, our restaurant of choice for June. sparks is busy, and has a causal, neighborhood feel about it with an eclectic clientele, and so we felt fortunate to secure a table outside for the seven of us.
On this night since the menu listed small plates, pizzas and entrees we opted to order from each category so that the food arrived at the same time.
From the small plates our favorite was Mango Shrimp Tacos · two large grilled shrimp per taco with a peppery Thai Salad and three pepper aioli. There are two tacos per order and the sauce was piquant enough to get our attention but not overwhelming. Less successful was the Lamb Merguez, ground lamb sausage in a very spicy sea of harissa which did get our attention. Although it was tasty, the disappointment here was that there was not a strong flavor to the lamb. We ordered Tzatsiki to cool off these two dishes but found the cooling off unnecessary and so enjoyed it with excellent warm pita bread.
The twelve inch Pizza Vedura, roasted onion, roasted tomato, kalamati olives, parmesan cheese and arugula, (which proved to be a wonderful combination) appeared to be on a grilled crust as well and was appealing to the eye as well as the palate.
Our final choice, from the entrees, was Roasted Amish Chicken. The half chicken, flavored with lemon juice and herbs, definitely thyme among them, appeared to be more grilled than roasted and was moist, flavorful and very tender. We rated it right up there with the Mango Shrimp Tacos.
sparks dessert menu is limited so rather than ordering two selections, during this Minnesota rhubarb season, we opted to share two servings of Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp, warmed and paired with vanilla gelato and whipped cream. What a glorious end to a meal…large chunks of tangy rhubarb tempered with sweet strawberries, all afloat in slightly melting vanilla gelato. And the crisp was crisp. The oatmeal, flour, sugar and butter combined to provide a light crunchy topping for the fruit below. There was not a morsel left.
We found the manager and wait staff very helpful and agreeable. sparks prices are very reasonable.